On the trail of Lancashire’s missing army of milkmen…

dairy cows As Stephenson’s Dairy highlighted  in an article a couple of weeks ago,  farmers have been putting  increasing pressure on  supermarkets to increase the price  they pay farmers for milk.  Morrison’s, Aldi and Lidl have all  agreed to raise their milk prices,  but to amounts still considered less than the cost of milk production… According to The Guardian online, the estimated cost of producing milk is currently 30p a litre. To pay less than 30p a litre therefore forces dairy farmers to make difficult decisions or risk going out of business.

As dairy farmers are financially squeezed, they are forced to produce more for less. This leads to the intensification of dairy farms, and animal welfare being sacrificed for profits. A discussion of the issues associated with the dairy industry are summarised on Compassion In World Farming’s website.

What are we to do!?

If we are to counter this broken food system, we need to work more closely with farmers. We can buy directly from farm gates, and we can support schemes that allow farmers to deliver directly to shops and customers. We can also put pressure on our local milk delivery systems (milkmen/women and local shops) to source organic and free range milk.

We can question the price they pay directly to farmers for their milk.

We can let businesses know that we, as customers, care and are not willing to let these issues go.

It is in this light that I challenge you to spot your milkman/woman!
milk bottles Through my work with local food, I have  come  to  realise that milkmen and women  are a  mysterious  bunch of people. Their  online  presence is zero, and  trying to track  them down  is like trying to track  down a  ghost. It is clear  that there ARE a number  of  milk floats drifting  around Lancashire in  the  early morning.  But…Who drives these milk floatsWhere do they source their milk from? Where do they deliver to?  How can you start getting a delivery? What products do they offer other than milk? How much does it cost to get a delivery?

I call on the people of Lancashire to help find answers to these questions. If you see a milk float, chase it down and get to know the driver and their products. Let’s get to know our milkmen/women!

If you find any answers to the questions above, you could post them on this blog or send them to: LESS, PC22, The Storey Institute, Lancaster, LA11TH.

We will then share this information online.




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11 Responses

  1. Sue Parish says:

    I live up in Moorlands, and I’ve had a succession of brilliant milkman over
    the past twenty years, including Stuart (a tall bloke who wore proper clogs,
    looked a bit like John Wayne, and got my milk onto the doorstep even when
    there was so much snow the buses weren’t running…), and several others,
    all excellent.

    The round seems to periodically get handed on from one milkman to another,
    usually seamlessly. My current milkman is called Mark Seward and he’s given
    me permission to pass on his contact details. He is absolutely marvellous,
    never gets an order wrong, and even delivers on bank holidays. He does all
    kinds of milk (including organic), eggs, fruit juice, and other things as
    well, especially at Christmas.

    Years ago the milkman used to come round every Friday to be paid, which I
    rather liked, and it may be that for some customers that’s still the way it
    works. These days I send my orders by text and pay my monthly bill by BACS.
    So the other thing about Mark is that not only is he brilliant but I have no
    idea what he looks like!

    His phone number is 07784 370360

    Best wishes

    Sue Parish

    Ps a few months ago I also spotted a real, oldfashioned electronic
    milkfloat, drifting with a gentle whir up East Road late at night. I was so
    intrigued I did stop them, and discovered that, as the milkman was unwell,
    two colleagues were helping with his round that night as well as going on to
    do their own the following day…. The sound of a milk float, which is
    indeed rarely heard now, was wonderfully nostalgic…

  2. Ruthie D says:

    Thanks Sue, I really enjoyed reading your comments and have a similar situation that I have a fabulous milkman, but I’ve no idea what he looks like!

    It now seems standard to text orders and pay by BACS and being a busy parent with two young children, this works wonderfully for me and my family.

    Neil Wright delivers to Heysham, he’s given me permission to share his contact details: 07933 776681. He delivers Stephensons milk (including their free range milk), local eggs, soya milk, yoghurts, bread and lots of lovely stuff.

    I love having a mysterious milkman, it’s so convenient.

  3. Anne chapman says:

    Our milkman, on Derwent road is called Martyn and his phone numbers are 07909836148 and 01524 388614. We get organic milk in glass bottles.

  4. Teresa Seed says:

    I buy milk from a farm near Inglewhite (near Garstang/Bilsborrow). The milk is organic, unpasteurised, from Jersey cows. I also work there one day a week. Currently I bring milk for 5 other people/families back to Lancaster and charge about 15% commission for my time and diesel. I don’t want to become a milkwoman, so I prefer to limit ‘customers’ to ones who come and collect or are convenient to my route home, though my partner does make a delivery to Morecambe after I get home. The farm has a website, cliftonsfarm.com and they sell lots of other stuff. I would consider collecting for one or two more people – or readers might consider making a trip out for themselves and friends/neighbours. The milk keeps for a week at least, so a weekly collection is quite practical.

  5. Kathy Barton says:

    Our milk man is Alan Beck. He does 50 miles a night covering Mill Head, Warton, Torrisholme, Bare, Morecambe, Heysham, Middleton, Overton and a little bit in Lancaster -hence the early start! He is out all night delivering and even on bank holidays.

    He takes orders or changes to orders by text/phone/e-mail as well as leaving a note in the bottle.

    He uses a pick up van as a milk float would not be able to cover the area, they only do about 30 miles.

    He offers a whole range of other dairy products-sourced locally where possible. Butter, cream, cheese, also juice, meat, Christmas hampers, bread, etc. the milk we get is organic and I am told it is free range for 6 months of the year. Alan gets it from Stephensons.

    Anyone can start getting a delivery simply by getting in touch with him-there is no cost for delivery.

  6. John says:

    There are still plenty of electric milk floats in London, wrote a little bit about their rise and fall on the website where I have photos of mine http://www.theoldmilkfloat.co.uk

  7. rosemary betterton says:

    Our local milkman in Halton is Chad Tremble ( yes, really…). I don’t have his contact details here but he should be easy to find!

  8. Emily Heath says:

    I live on the Marsh and have an excellent milkman – Roger Stackhouse, 07879 407 324 or email rjdairy”AT”hotmail.com .
    He delivers a wide range of products – not just dairy but meat, drinks, bread, spuds, etc. I get a regular order of organic milk, free range eggs and orange juice. The milk and juice comes in returnable glass bottles. Like Sue said about her milkman, I’ve never actually met him because of paying by BACS!

  9. Tanya W says:

    Our milkman is Kevin Fernell (Greaves and beyond). He’s lovely and does knock on the door every two weeks for payment, so I do know what he looks like! He also delivers other grocery items like potatoes, eggs, juice, other dairy items like yoghurt, most of which are locally produced. Super reliable, can change the order whenever. How did I get a milkman? We had a chat on the street while he was putting a list of items through my neighbour’s door. I’ll check with his if he’d be happy for me to send on his details. I think there’s also a milkman called Colin who shares the patch :)

  10. Yvonne Drakeley says:

    I’ve had the same Milkman since I moved to Bowerham 11 years ago. I also found out about him by asking neighbours whose houses had milk bottles outside. He delivers to a fair proportion of the houses on my street. I’m not sure how big his round is but I’ve seen his milk float in Scotforth as well. His service has been very reliable, even when he had health problems, and he employs local young people to collect the money door-to-door in the traditional style. His name is Mick Liver and the business card he gave me 11 years ago gives his phone number as Lancaster 33260.

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